QUETTA — At least 52 people, including a police officer, were killed while around 50 were injured in what officials believe was a suicide blast near a Rabiul Awwal procession in Balochistan’s Mastung district on Friday, reports Dawn.
District Health Officer (DHO) Abdul Rasheed Shahi confirmed the casualties to Dawn while City Station House Officer (SHO) Mohammad Javed Lehri said a police official was among the dead.
The explosion took place when people were gathering for an Eid-i-Miladun Nabi procession near Madina Masjid at Alfalah Road. Officials confirmed that the blast took place by the car of DSP Gishkori who was to remain on the sidelines of the procession.
SHO Lehri said the explosion was a “suicide blast” and that the bomber exploded himself next to DSP Gishkori’s car.
The cause of the blast was not immediately known.
Unverified images and videos emerging in the aftermath of the blast showed a number of bloodied corpses and what looked like severed limbs strewn about as onlookers assessed the damage.
Balochistan interim Information Minister Jan Achakzai said rescue teams have been dispatched to Mastung. He added the critically injured persons are being transferred to Quetta and that an emergency has been imposed in all the hospitals.
“The enemy wants to destroy religious tolerance and peace in Balochistan with foreign blessings,” Achakzai said. “The explosion is unbearable.”
He further said caretaker Chief Minister Ali Mardan Domki has directed authorities to arrest those responsible for the blast.
Earlier this month, at least 11 people, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah, were injured in an explosion.
A week before than, a Levies official was gunned down at a bus stand by unidentified men, while two others who were passing by were injured.
In May, unidentified attackers targeted a polio vaccination team in the Killi Sour Karez area on the outskirts of Mastung, resulting in the killing of a policeman.
Photo: Rescue workers and onlookers at the scene of a blast at Alfalah Road in Mastung, Balochistan on Friday. —DawnNewsTV